Topping this season’s Asian art series in New York was a piece of Qing imperial porcelain sold . The Qianlong mark and period falangcai vase decorated with a continuous scene of two European women and a child in a garden took $2m (£1.55m) on September 20.
The amount raised eyebrows as the vase was in far from perfect condition, having been reduced from the original ganlanping (olive-shaped vase) form. It now stands 5in (12cm) high and is capped with a silver mount.
These jewel-like enamels on glass, enamel and ceramics hold the special distinction of having had to pass Qianlong’s own inspection. Porcelain vessels decorated in this way were potted in Jingdezhen and then moved to Beijing for enamelling in the Yangxindian (Hall of Mental Cultivation) in the immediate vicinity of the imperial living quarters.
Down but not out, this broken Qianlong mark and period falangcai vase took $2m (£1.55m) at a recent auction
A small number of similar vases are known. and these include the celebrated ‘Golden Pheasant’ vase from the Meiyintang collection and another (perhaps slightly earlier) European-subject vase in the Percival David Collection at the British Museum. It similarly displays two women and a boy in a pastoral setting with the neck worked with a band of arabesques in puce enamel.
The Percival David vase provides a clue to what the broken Qing vase may have looked like when complete. The Meiyintang vase (sold privately after the sale at Sotheby’s Hong Kong for HK$200m/£20m in 2011) gives an idea of the commercial worth of a perfect example.
The vase was competed by phone bidders from around the globe well above its pre-sale estimate of $100,000-300,000 to a price that was $2.45m including the 26/21% premium.
Closer to home, you may discover valuable finds at MNP's Straits Chinese Antique Auction Series 11/2021 侨生华人文物拍卖会 第11系列 which is ongoing till October 24th 2021.
Register today to bid online.